Wednesday, December 05, 2012

MicroWork Development

From the HBR....

What’s the best way to help the world’s poor? The answer may not be giving them more aid. What people need to break the cycle of poverty is work. A small but growing industry known as “impact sourcing” is addressing that need head-on by hiring people at the bottom of the pyramid to perform digital tasks such as transcribing audio files and editing product databases. Essentially, it’s business process outsourcing aimed at boosting economic development.

Impact sourcing is not unlike microfinancing: It aspires to create meaningful work for and put money in the pockets of the people who need it most. And because it connects new workers—often those who’ve been marginalized, such as Muslim women in Calcutta—to the global supply chain and addresses real needs of first-world companies, it could quickly reach a large scale. In a study commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation last year, Monitor Group estimated that the market for impact sourcing was $4.5 billion in 2010 and would rise to $20 billion by 2015. It also predicted that employment in the industry would grow from 144,000 to 780,000 over the same period.

Nod to Kevin Lewis

3 comments:

Jim Oliver said...

This reminds me that many Americans seem to want big manufacturers to be run as charities benefiting the workers but if they were run as such they would move all the jobs to poor countries.

Tom said...

What kind of audio file transcription can poor Muslim women in Calcutta do?

Michael said...

So basically it's sweatshops for the purpose of being sweatshops: to employ poor workers in poor countries. Only when framed like this, the critics will have a harder time destroying their jobs.